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The relationship between the reading comprehension of short paragraphs and long passages of science text-book material. Horne, Edgar Byron

Abstract

This study attempts to establish whether or not the ability to comprehend long passages of text-book material is reflected in the usual reading comprehension test score. The skills which result in a high score on a standardized reading test may not be identical with those required in regular classroom reading. A test was constructed to serve as a criterion of the ability to read a Grade 9 science text-book. The study was limited to the kind of reading which is done when the reader's purpose is total grasp of a fairly long passage of new and difficult material. Study skills were specifically excluded. The Criterion Test, and Test 1 of the Stanford Advanced Reading Test, and Part III of the Cooperative Science Test for Grades 7, 8, and 9 were administered to 90 Science 10 students. This group was a representative sample of the Grade 9 population of the public schools of Vancouver, British Columbia. The intercorrelations of the test scores were computed. For the sample used, the correlation between Stanford scores and Criterion scores was .58; between Stanford scores and Cooperative scores, .66; between Cooperative scores and Criterion scores, .72. The main Inferences derived from these data were: 1. The size of the correlation coefficient (.72) between Cooperative scores and Criterion scores implies that the two tests measure groups of skills which are similar but not identical. 2. For most practical purposes, Part III of the Cooperative Science Test could be used to appraise the ability to read material from Science in Action, Book 1.¹ 3. The Stanford Test does not seem to be as good a measure of the ability to understand science text-book material as the Cooperative Test. 4. The correlations obtained suggest that the test scores are affected by content and length of passage, content being the more important factor. It is possible that a better criterion would have resulted from having the students read one long passage directly from the text-book. Such a criterion would be more like a natural reading situation and less like a standardized test. ------------¹ Paterson, G. M., and Cameron, E. E. Toronto: Dent, 1955.

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